Weekend news roundup

24 May 2010

A quick glance at some of the technology stories breaking in the weekend papers.

Google ‘Dublin’ for jobs

The Sunday Business Post carried a report that suggests internet giant Google is creating 200 jobs in Dublin, with a new investment in a shared services that will bring its workforce in Ireland to about 1,800 people. The Google plan, which involves the firm taking on a new building, is one of several major jobs projects in the pipeline. IDA Ireland is set to make three other jobs announcements – one in financial services and two in internet-related firms – in the next two weeks.

Barry O’Leary, chief executive of IDA Ireland, said that two of the imminent announcements were by firms that had never invested in Ireland before. They were ‘‘very decent’’ in size, he said. The financial services project, with involves well in excess of 100 jobs and involves a major investment, will be announced by Taoiseach Brian Cowen this week.

O’Leary said that companies were being attracted to invest in Ireland again because the country’s competitiveness was improving, with cuts in wages and other costs. The number of site visits by firms interested in investing was up by 50pc in the first quarter of the year, and is back to levels not seen since 2007, according to the IDA boss.

Facebook: the users are revolting

The Observerreported this weekend how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faces a revolt by users who accuse him of exploiting their data. Millions of users of Facebook are being urged to take part in the most dramatic “screenwipe” in history a week tomorrow. People are being asked to end their addiction to the social-networking site by closing their accounts and turning billions of family videos, photographs and “friend requests” into little more than digital debris.

Two Canadian campaigners have declared 31 May as Quit Facebook Day to protest the company’s decision to make more of that valuable personal data available to advertisers without the users’ permission or, in some cases, without their knowledge. Their protest reflects a growing feeling of unease about how internet giants such as Facebook and Google, and upstarts like Twitter, use the information we give them.

Top 40 influential bloggers

The Sunday Times carried an interesting digest of 40 bloggers who really count. Many seem to traverse the celebrity world, such as David Byrne of Talking Heads fame and movie actress Gwyneth Paltrow, while others include fashion designers, feminists, foodies, gossipers like Perez Hilton, health, Hollywood, law, media, motherhood, news and politics. Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch is the only mention of a technology blog, however.

Shall I compare thee to a moment’s tweet

The Observer reveals that this year’s Guardian Hay festival will include an award, judged by Stephen Fry, for “the most beautiful tweet” ever written. The host of literary heavyweights to descend on the Guardian Hay festival may be more used to reviewing substantial literary works, but messages of 140 characters or fewer are set to share the festival stage this year. The search for the winning tweet begins today and ends a week on Friday, and the tweets will be judged by the unofficial king of Twitter, actor and writer Fry.

“The definition of most beautiful tweet could fall into a number of different categories: it could prove the most eloquent; the most impassioned; the best demonstration of a clever pun or metaphor; the most evocative description of a place or emotion, or perhaps prove that brevity is conducive to levity, and be the wittiest tweet ever committed to the Twittersphere,” said the festival’s founder and director, Peter Florence.

4G hits an Irish speed bump

The Sunday Business Post’s Adrian Weckler asks when will 4G arrive in Ireland and warns Ireland could yet again be behind the curve of yet another broadband revolution if the spectrum situation isn’t cleared up by ComReg in near future.

Last week, Germany concluded its 4G licence auctions, raising €4.4bn for the German government. Two weeks ago, 3 began its rollout of 4G services across Denmark. In Ireland, however, 4G seems to be at least a year away.

While many companies cheekily lay claim to the term ‘4G’, there is an industry consensus that long-term evolution (LTE) is the most likely technology to fulfil most of the relevant criteria. LTE is being pursued by most of Europe’s mobile operators, including the four networks in the Irish market. On completion, the first roll-out of LTE should see broadband speeds of between 40Mbs and 50Mbs delivered. After that, it is likely to see speed bumps leading up to, and exceeding, 100Mbs.